Polypodium vulgare / Eikvaren


P. vulgare has an ancient history as a medicinal herb. P. vulgare has been recommended by Dioscorides for  chapped or dislocated hands, and by Culpeper as a laxative (Bown 2002).   The traditional use of polypody rhizome has been documented in several handbooks and in the scientific  literature. The traditional medicinal use of polypody rhizome as a remedy for diseases of the air passages,  such as coughs, colds, adenoids and a multitude of other purposes has been documented in handbooks such  as The Swedish Pharmacopeia (1849), Madaus (1938), Frerichs et al. (1938), Høeg (1975) and Nielsen  (1977).    

Polypody has been used medicinally in Europe since ancient times. The Greek physician Dioscorides,  writing in the 1 st  century AD, noted that polypody was used to purge phlegm and was an ingredient of a  plaster applied to dislocated fingers and to sores that occur between the fingers (Chevallier 1996). The use of  P. vulgare is also recorded among the American Indians. The Indians used root tea for the pleurisy, hives,  sore throats, stomach-aches; poulticed root for inflammations (Foster 1990).    An old legend according to a source in Telemark in Norway tells that the polypody grew for the first time  where Virgin Mary squirted some of her breast milk into a rock crevice. Hence the folk name “Mariebregne”  (Mary fern), which is used in Danish also (Øllgaard and Tind 1993).   

Polypody rhizome has been used as a taste substance in food. It has previously been a pharmacy assortment  as a remedy against respiratory complaints and rheumatism. It has expectorant and laxative effect. The  Indians in North America chewed the rhizome and swallowed syrups to relieve symptoms such as painful  throat and cough, while the Sami people used the rhizome as sweets (Källman 2006).  The previous availability of polypody rhizome in pharmacies is reported by Øllgaard and Tind (1993),  Källman (2006) and Ljungquist (2006).    
According to Bown (2002), polypody is native to Europe, Africa, and eastern Asia, mostly in northern or  upland areas. Polypody is a common species almost throughout Scandinavia, especially in the southern part  of the area, and along the Atlantic coast of Norway nearly to the North Cape. The total area of the species is  not well known according to the present delimitation. Several closely related species replace it in North  America, and others may do so in eastern Asia. The species complex is of circumpolar distribution, with an  odd outlier in southern Africa. In Europe the species is known from all countries, and is common throughout  the area, except in parts of the Mediterranean (Øllgaard and Tind 1993).  

http://www.theodora.com/drugs/eu/polypodii_rhizoma_herbal.html


Dodonaeus over Polypodium
Zo was het gebruik vroeger. (41, 164) ‘De wortel van boomvaren is bovendien ook heel geschikt om op de verwrongen, verstuikte of anders ontstelde ledematen te leggen, zegt Dioscorides, en om de kloven te genezen die tussen de vingers komen, met honig vermengt en opgelegd.
Men distilleert water van de verse wortels van boomvaren wat zeer goed is ettelijke dagen achter elkaar gedronken om de vierde daagse malariakoorts te genezen en geneest de hoest, het moeilijk herhalen van de adem en allerhande gebreken van de borst en longen, het is nuttig de zwaarmoedige melancholische mensen en diegene die met moeilijke en bange dromen gekweld zijn. Vier ons er van ‘s morgens en ‘s avonds gedronken geneest de razernij en uitzinnigheid, opent de borst, zuivert het bloed en maakt de buik week en maakt een goede kleur.

Van het water daar deze wortels in gekookt zijn geweest en met suiker vermengt worden verschillende siropen gemaakt door er vele andere of geen andere kruiden bij te doen die  in de boeken van de apothekers in het lang beschreven zijn.

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